SJSU students return to off-campus housing to find it had been ransacked on Christmas

A group of students at San Jose State University returned home to find their off-campus house wrecked and many of their dearest possessions gone.

21-year-old Gaby Avila shares a three-bedroom house with six other roommates. She said when she came home Christmas afternoon, the house was a disaster.

"My room was trashed. Everything -- all my clothes from my dresser was out on the floor. My bed was moved a little bit everything from under my bed was taken out," said Avila, a fourth year public relations major at SJSU.

The roommates think the burglars came in through a window, then helped themselves to a guitar, bikes, laptops and other possessions.

"All my schoolwork was on there, resumes, things like that and then (there was) a film camera that I had. It was my dad's originally from when I was a baby," said Alexis Mejia, a fourth year art major at SJSU.

Adding insult to injury, it looked like the burglars opened presents meant for family members -- cherry picking the ones they wanted.

"I just felt like my stomach was turning and I started to cry," said Avila.

The roommates are all struggling students who work one or two jobs and put themselves through school.

"None of us really have our parents to fall back on. My mom has always really struggled to raise me and my brother on her own so I've always known it was my responsibility to take care of myself," said Mejia.

Avila decided to alert others. A friend set up a GoFundMe campaign. Thousands started pouring in. A woman even dropped off a bike and guitar.

"Her name is Joy. She is an SJSU alumni and she's attending Stanford now," said Avila. "She stopped by with her two nieces and her two nieces baked cupcakes for us and that just brought me and my roommate into tears. It was just really heartwarming."

"For strangers to come and do this to us and more strangers to come and help us, it really gives us a lot of hope," said Mejia.

As of Monday evening, more than $11,000 had been raised in the fundraising campaign to help the roommates replace their stolen belongings. Avila said if there's access, they'd like to help other students struggling financially.

The ordeal has been a valuable life lesson in the worst in people, and more importantly, the best.
For more information on the fundraising effort, visit: